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Airport Operations

airspeed requires or for practice power−off landings

(autorotation) and if local policy permits. Landings

not to the runway must avoid the flow of fixed wing


b. A pilot may vary the size of the traffic pattern

depending on the aircraft’s performance characteris-

tics. Pilots of en route aircraft should be constantly

alert for aircraft in traffic patterns and avoid these

areas whenever possible.

c. Unless otherwise indicated, all turns in the

traffic pattern must be made to the left, except for

helicopters, as applicable.

d. On Sectional, Aeronautical, and VFR Terminal

Area Charts, right traffic patterns are indicated at

public−use and joint−use airports with the abbrevia-

tion “RP” (for Right Pattern), followed by the

appropriate runway number(s) at the bottom of the

airport data block.


RP 9, 18, 22R


1. Pilots are encouraged to use the standard traffic

pattern. However, those pilots who choose to execute a

straight−in approach, maneuvering for and execution of

the approach should not disrupt the flow of arriving and

departing traffic. Likewise, pilots operating in the traffic

pattern should be alert at all times for aircraft executing

straight−in approaches.


AC 90−66B, Non−Towered Airport Flight Operations

2. RP* indicates special conditions exist and refers pilots
to the Chart Supplement U.S.

3. Right traffic patterns are not shown at airports with
full−time control towers.

e. Wind conditions affect all airplanes in varying

degrees. Figure 4-3-4 is an example of a chart used to

determine the headwind, crosswind, and tailwind

components based on wind direction and velocity

relative to the runway.  Pilots should refer to similar

information provided by the aircraft manufacturer

when determining these wind components.